ratatoI am going to work on better photo taking of food this summer.  Summer is where I do a lot of cooking and in turn post a few recipes.

A good ratatouille is a combination of great produce and the kitchen sink.  You can add or subtract anything you want in it.  Here is the one that I made this week.  I might have to make it again but I can guarantee it will never be quite the same.

One of the key things is to sauteing each vegetable separately and then setting it aside in a large bowl until the bowl is filled with each vegetable you want in the dish.  At one point I added some red chili flakes to the oil to spice things up.  I also put in a new bunch of basil leaves with stems into each batch of vegetables.  Both of these things add flavor.  Salt and pepper as you go along too.  In the end I tossed in cold chopped tomatoes and chopped fresh basil.  You can serve this room temperature or warm.

In a very large deep saute pan cover the bottom with olive oil.  These vegetables are in the order of what I used below.

Large eggplants

Small eggplants (thin long pieces that came from an organic farm)

Sweet onions cut into cubes

Small green and yellow squash (small short round pieces that also came from an organic farm)

Red peppers cubed

Corn kernels (cut from the cob)



Great with anything!


Comments (Archived):

  1. Susan Rubinsky

    I use my Samsung Note 4 for cooking pics because the photos are easy to upload straight from the phone (I have the phone setup to auto-upload to G+) and the camera is really good in low light.But often, I take better pics with one of my other cameras. I use a Cannon G15 for most shots and my Nikkon D5000 for when I want really high res (though these pics also require lots of photo editing because I shoot in raw).For something simple, you can’t go wrong with the Note4. I uploaded a couple of photos below, most of these were taken with the original Note (I just upgraded to Note4 a couple of months ago).One of the things that is important in shooting food, is framing the shot and also light sources. A nice natural light is best. Placing the dish near a window for indirect lighting works wonders on a photo.

    1. Jess Bachman

      Yeah good lighting is 50%-75% of a good food shot. Unless you have some specialty lights and reflectors lying a round, its best to use the good old Sun. It’s about a thousand watts per square meter.Of course, this doesn’t help with after-dark dinner meals.I bet some porcini mushrooms would be great in there to balance out the sweetness.

      1. Susan Rubinsky

        You’re right about night shots. The best bet is to turn off overhead lighting and just use a lamp for side lighting. You can drape a thin cloth over the lamp to diffuse the light.

      2. Susan Rubinsky

        But also, the Note4 performs extremely well in low light.

    2. Gotham Gal

      Thanks Susan. Definitely creating a pretty plate would be an added bonus.

    3. Kirsten Lambertsen

      These are gorgeous!

  2. William Mougayar

    …which reminded me that ratatouille was the most hated dish growing-up. Not sure why, maybe the eggplant, but my Mom would have us eat it sometimes. We used to see it as an “adult dish”. Now, I don’t mind it.

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      I hated it too because it always had cooked tomatoes in it. Wasn’t really a fan of cooked tomatoes as a kid.

  3. Brandon Burns

    I’ve been doing a lot of swapping ingredients in dishes, like how you might make ratatouille with winter squash in december, and then switch for zuchinni in summer. I’ll go to get produce, get inspired by whatever I see, and think of something on the spot.But sometimes I need to plan things in advance. This Grow NYC chart has been a big help:http://www.grownyc.org/gree

  4. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Ratatouille is one of my favorite foods ever. I first tasted it at a French bistro in SF. It was more like a sauce or spread vs what I see in your picture. (From what I’ve seen, people’s idea of Ratatouille varies greatly!) They put it on all their sandwiches. It was the most savory, flavorful thing I’d ever eaten and I was determined to reproduce it!This is probably my only recipe worth sharing, especially with a cook of your calibre :)Peppers and onions must be thinly sliced. No eggplant (because I hate it, ha!). Just green zuc’s in ~1″ thick wedges.Saute the onions in the oil for a while, then add tomatoes (I confess, I use canned, chopped – strained) peppers, garlic, salt/pepper, basil, olive oil, and wine (essential, the wine). Simmer *all* day. Like, 5-6 hours on very very low, covered. I like to cook it until the pepper slices can easily be severed with the edge of a wooden spoon.Toss in the zuc’s (and olives, if desired) at the last minute just until soft. Then pull them back out.The last step is crucial: make a reduction. Strain out all the solids. Reduce what’s left down to a near-paste and then pour that back over the solids and mix. It’ll be a small amount and not seem like enough, but just a little is just right.The flavor is INSANE. Great on toast with maybe some kind of sharp cheese melted on top and a soft-boiled egg. Or just spread on on slices of toasted baguette. It makes a great spread for all kinds of meat or cheese based sandwiches. Everyone in my house goes nuts for this (and two are very picky eaters).Sometimes I even skip the zuc, to just make it super-spreadable and really only useful as such.

    1. Gotham Gal

      that’s the beauty of this dish. not a huge zucchini lover but love eggplant.